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Kenya’s Kwara to Build Digital Bank For Credit Unions With $4m Funding

Kwara, a Kenyan fintech startup, has secured a $4 million investment to build a digital bank for credit unions.

The funding round was led by Breega, and also includes SoftBank Vision Fund Emerge, Finca Ventures, New General Market Partners, Globivest, Do Good Invest, Rabacap, Launch Africa, Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Future Africa, Samurai Incubate and DOB Equity, as well as several fintech executives, including founders of Meltwater, The Flex Company and ComplyAdvantage, and executives from Salesforce and PayPal.

Founded in 2018 by Cynthia Wandia and David Hwan, Kwara offers a secure, simple and affordable digital banking platform for Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) and their members, who are often excluded by traditional banks.

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Kwara will use the funding to build the next-generation neobank that will give credit union members access to instant loans and third-party services such as insurance, as the start-up prepares to offer end-to-end solutions to its customers.

In the past year, Kwara has launched in South Africa and the Philippines as demand for his services increased beyond Kenya. It hopes to triple the number of credit unions using its software to 150 by the end of 2022. The startup currently serves 60,000 Sacco members but also seeks to cross the 100,000 mark by the end of the year. The startup’s goal is to serve 1 billion people by 2030.

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“We are building a solution for people – an estimated one billion – who do not currently have access to personalised banking services. This is the result of a gap in banking-grade technology and the lack of neobank-like experiences for the end clients. We’ve been thrilled to see the excitement around the Kwara brand among credit unions and their members, which is fast becoming synonymous with a superior user experience and the future of banking,” said Kwara CEO Cynthia Wandia. 

“Thanks to our investors, we will now be able to offer an end-client experience that is 100 times better than what they previously had access to.”

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“Over the years, we have seen a growing interest in how to build wealth through community, as well as a shift in consumer preferences towards digital banking. Kwara’s unique approach is a catalyst for a new way of retail banking through digitally-driven credit unions, ”said Ben Marrel, founding partner of Breega.

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